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  • Corruption and power: the connection

    Was Lord Acton right? “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Or, is it more as John Steinbeck described “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power”? Is there a connection between having power (in politics, government, business, etc.) and becoming or being corrupt? There seem to…

  • Climate change and human migration

    Background: Hundreds of millions of climate migrants likely by 2050 Lustgarten, Abrahm (2020, July 23). The Great Climate Migration. New York Times Magazine. [Cited by] Migration due to climate change is already happening in the United States The research: *Koubi, V., Böhmelt, T., Spilker, G., & Schaffer, L. (2018). The determinants of environmental migrants’ conflict…

  • Climate change and human behavior

    In the face of the many and significant challenges of a changing climate, how and why do humans act the way they do? Does it take a crisis for people to actually do something? And, when the crisis passes, does the action stop? Are human beings, collectively, doomed to failure due to inaction, denial, greed,…

  • Bacteriophages: basic science and applications

    “We urgently need an alternative method to fight bacterial infection. One promising method for killing bacteria is to use bacteriophages: viruses that infect and kill bacteria … As a type of virus, phages cannot live and reproduce alone. Viruses need to invade a host cell, consume the host’s nutrients to make more copies of themselves, and…

  • Autoimmune diseases–prevention and control

    Quick bibliography: Reviews on the prevention and control of autoimmune diseases. “An autoimmune disorder is a malfunction of the body’s immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues. ” See the Merck Manual for background information. **Updated March 2021** Classic review: *Davidson, Anne & Diamond, B. (2001). Autoimmune diseases.The New England Journal…

  • Arabidopsis: model organism in Biology

    Arabidopsis thaliana is a small, annual rosette plant. It belongs to the family of the Brassicaceae in the eudicotyledonous group of angiosperm vascular plants. This family also includes related oilseed crops, vegetables and spice plants–rapeseed, brussel sprouts, various cabbages, cauliflower, garden radish, and mustard. From: eLife 2015;4:e06100, “The Natural History of Model Organisms: Planting molecular…

  • Drinking alcohol: how much is too much?

    For alcohol consumption, how much is too much? Clearly, prolonged heavy drinking or heavy binge drinking is bad; there are a range of negative effects–health, disease, neurological, and behavior. But, occasional, “social” light to moderate drinking? There have been studies that purported to show some health benefits. Is that true? Or, is all alcohol consumption…

  • The use of face masks/face shields to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases–are they effective?

    How effective is wearing face masks and/or face shields in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases? Recommendations in the United States, at least, have varied often depending upon who issued them–politicians or medical professionals. Quick bibliography: What does the research say about the effectiveness of wearing face masks and/or face shields to…

  • Authoritarianism and corruption

    Authoritarianism and corruption go together. “Corruption is the misuse of public power for private gain and has become a worldwide problem for economies and social development.” Together, authoritarianism and corruption weaken societies–accentuate existing divisions, create new ones, increase inequality, spread distrust, and make a society less stable and less able to respond effectively and coherently…

  • Childhood obesity and parents’ influence

    Child obesity is a major global health problem in both developed and developing countries. Tens of millions of children (perhaps as many as 15-20% of all children) are overweight or even obese by the age of 5 or younger. “Obese children are likely to become obese adults and are at higher risk of developing a…

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Copyright 1999-2024 Kevin R. Engel · IA 50309 · United States engelk@grinnell.edu